Monday, August 27, 2012

Adventures in Upcycling Part 2

There are always a lot of things to do around here -- outdoor concerts in this quaint small town, volunteering within the community or at the local schools, work related projects, house cleaning, garage sale prepping or spending quality time with family and friends; however, none of these things are keeping me from finishing the dresser. What is the main thing keeping me from finishing the dresser? These chairs!

5 dining room chairs
See the three middle chairs? Yah, those are old classroom chairs
(they even have the rungs on the bottom for books and such).
They are uber sturdy, but crazy heavy -- built to last I suppose.
Here is the short story - We have two dining room tables, and when we moved in a year ago we put one in the dining room and one in the front room (what we call the parlor). The problem is that we only have one set of dining room chairs. So the table in the parlor has been chair-less for the past year. This summer my mom suggested finding four mismatched chairs to put in the parlor (since mismatched would be cheaper and easier to find than four matching chairs). I had three chairs in storage at work that I needed to bring home that were not ‘pretty’ enough for the parlor the way they were, but I got to thinking – what if I painted those chairs and found another chair (or two) to paint and use in the parlor...

On the way home from my inspirational friends house, with the dresser still in my car (see my last post for the story about the dresser), I stopped at a big box store -- there, in the ‘OOPS’ section, was a gallon of green paint for only $7 (best match for color is Sanctuary by Behr! That gallon of paint and a couple quarts of 'OOPS' paint (one is a lavender-ish and the other a dark reddish-brown) came home with me. In the past two weeks, I found two additional chairs at the second-hand stores in town ($5 each -- reference the photo above, they are the chairs on either end of the lineup).

With all five the chairs in the garage, my access to the dresser is blocked, so I started painting the chairs! As referenced in the photo above, you can see that each chair is in a different stage in the upcycling process.

I started with one chair to see if I liked the new green paint color on the chairs. I DO!! However the color looks better in the dining room than the parlor, so when the chairs are done we will have new dining room chairs and the chairs in the dining room will get scrubbed clean and will be relocated to the parlor.

Yesterday, I decided I needed to work more efficiently and stop working on one chair at a time. So, I prepped all the chairs.  The chair shown below was the most work! I started by washing it. Which quickly turned into a BIG project (I didn't realize it was so coated with years of disgusting dirt and grime). Murphy's Oil Soap made it sticky and worse. I ended up using ammonia water to clean the sticky gooey mess. It really worked like a dream and as a bonus it took some nasty varnish off too. I think the varnish was more attached to the dirt and grime than to the wood of the chair - eew.

Here I am, beginning to clean the
chair with ammonia water.

The clean chair!
Today I painted the rest of the chairs (well at least in the photo it LOOKS like I painted them all – the upside-down chair is only half painted). I think they will need another coat or two, but I am making progress and it SHOWS!!  Yay me!!

Every day a little closer to finishing this project!!

Adventures in Upcycling

I have been inspired by a friend! She has been purging her home of things she doesn't love and has begun adding 'new' items that make her smile. Now... let me be clear here - I have been inspired by the upcycling and renewing furniture part of things...

That being said - I have been doing pretty well getting rid of stuff (if you look past the fridge that has been sitting in my garage for the past 5 years - two different garages even, because we moved the darn thing a year ago). Alas, this isn't about all the extra stuff I have around the house. This is about my new upcycling projects.

This friend of mine started me off on my upcycling journey, by selling me a dresser she no longer wanted. Do you find that as funny as I do? She gets rid of stuff and I start a new project with it. I had to convince her that I would use it and it would be an improvement to the organization in my house. I am going to use it to hold my son's toys... trains in one drawer, small cars and tracks in another... you get the idea.

And so a new chapter begins!

Here it is --- the piece of furniture that started it all!!
Yes, that is a harvest gold kinda color!
It did look great where it used to live. 

I was excited to do some sort of two-tone thing, similar to this:
I was thinking about reversing the dark and light colors.
Using a medium green (think Starbuck's color green) for the
dark on the dresser (where the white is now) and an ecru or
off-white for the light color on the drawers (where the brown is now). 

But my son decided he thought a glossy white finish would be better. I agreed to paint it white. The bonus with painting it white is: if it doesn't work for toys I can use it on the front porch (which is mostly white).  I am not sure for what I would use it, but I am sure there is something I could store in it.

So, here is where I am currently with the project:

Please ignore the sandpaper and stuff on top of the dresser. I know nothing should be on the freshly painted surface for a few weeks, but since the whole thing needs at least another coat or two of paint, I am not too worried about damage.

I would recommend removing the hardware (drawer pulls), but I couldn't. I honestly did try, but they were very well painted on, so I did the same thing and left them on, thus sealing them onto the drawers even more.... good luck to the person who insists on removing them in the future.

So, I will post one more picture when it is all done, but for now that is where it sits - waiting in the garage.